ComicsPRO is the only trade organization dedicated to the progress of direct market comic book retailers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

First ComicsPRO Exclusive Creator Tour A Success

While we move ahead to great Comics Professional Retail Organization (ComicsPRO) events such as the 2008 Annual Membership Meeting, let us not forget past successes. We are still getting reports of huge success with the first ComicsPRO Exclusive Creator Tour for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier featuring artist Kevin O’Neill.

Members of ComicsPRO, the trade group representing the interests of comic book specialty retailers, hosted each Kevin O'Neill signing. This was an exclusive signing tour that covered nine comic specialty stores and one pop culture convention over the course of eight days from November 14 through November 21, 2007. Some participating stores also held benefits for the Comic Book legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). The tour began on the first day of the release of LOEG: The Black Dossier. Here are some excerpts from participating retailers’ tour reports.

Ryan Liebowitz of Golden Apple Comics (, who coordinated the tour, says, "I was amazed how quickly we were able to coordinate everything and how flexible and gracious Kevin (O' Neill) was. He was excited to add more cities and tour stops and was happy that we added elements of exclusivity (for ComicsPRO) & charity (CBLDF)."

Dan Shahin of Hijinx Comics ( says, “We had a great turnout that propelled the Black Dossier to the top of our sales charts almost immediately. Kevin was a true gentleman and provided ample face time and free sketches to the crowd of fans he drew. A great time was had by all!"

Carr D'Angelo of Earth-2 Comics ( says, "The Black Dossier Tour was one of the most exciting events we have had at Earth-2. It was very cool to be part of an event that benefitted many comics shops and ComicsPro members. It was a great way to celebrate such a major book release in our industry."

Ralph Mathieu of Alternate Reality Comics ( says, “…lots of books were sold and Kevin O'Neill was a drawing and signing machine which made everyone who turned out for the event very grateful and in turn making this signing one of my very best events ever. I'd definitely want to be a part of any future events like this and would highly recommend others participating if they are able to as well.”

Go to and for more from Alternate Reality.

Golden Apple’s Liebowitz says, "Each and every shop involved in the LOEG: Black Dossier Tour had lines of appreciative fans, sold most or all of their store stock and had overall successful events."

Some of those appreciative fans filed their own reports. Go to for pictures and more from a Golden Apple customer. Go to for a customer report on Titan Comics’ tour stop.

ComicsPRO members should keep in touch with the ComicsPRO Delphi message boards to learn about new tours as they come available. And non-ComicsPRO members should join today!

ComicsPRO is a retailer trade and advocacy group with more than 100 retailer-members with over 140 retail storefronts. Information and applications for membership can be found at

Friday, January 18, 2008

2008 Director Election

Three director positions will become open at this year's Annual Membership Meeting, and our Full Members have already been mailed ballots for the upcoming election. Mailed ballots must be received by March 12th, or ballots can be handed in at the meeting March 20-21.

Two of our existing board members have decided to run again and are included in the list of nominees:

Brad Bankston
As co-owner of Austin Books & Comics and Bankston's (Waco), Brad Bankston has been active in comics retail since 1985. Moving to Austin with the purchase of Austin Books in 1994, Brad spent the next years taking a shop that had an established reputation of being an exclusive club and making it into an inviting, growing business celebrated locally for being accessible to new fans as well as avid collectors. Brad specializes in non-traditional outreach and promotion including the annual Austin Books Manga Melee, the Austin Books internet "street" team and a partnership with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Under his operating guidance, Austin Books & Comics has shown sales growth for fourteen straight years.

Phil Boyle
Phil Boyle opened Coliseum of Comics in 1983. During the quarter century Phil has overseen the expansion of Coliseum into a chain of stores that runs coast to coast in Florida. Among the stores there is a mix of city, rural, and mall stores. Stores range in size from 5000 sq ft to 830 sq ft, which gives Coliseum a unique view of stores of all sizes and markets. Phil has been a member of DC Comics’ RRP since its inception, has worked on advisory panels for publishers, manufacturers and distributors, and serves on the ComicsPRO mentoring board hosted on Delphi. Phil writes the somewhat monthly column Comics Arena for Comics & Games Retailer magazine. Phil’s current projects working with ComicsPRO are creating a program for having retailers paid for dealing with inserts; working with the position papers committee, and writing a position paper for late comics.

Alex Cox
Alex Cox is originally from rural Tennessee, where he was raised in a small business home, working in his family's restaurant. He moved to New York in 1995 to attend the School of Visual Arts, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production, Alex worked in varying capacities in television and illustration for several years, with clients such as MTV and Comedy Central. While in college, Alex began working in comics retail, soon managing for one of New York's best known stores. In 2005, along with business partner Mary Gibbons, Alex started ROCKETSHIP, which has since been profiled by the New York Times, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Onion, and voted the "Best Comic Shop in New York City" in a 2007 Village Voice Readers' Poll.

Gary Dills
Gary Dills is co-owner of Phoenix Comics & Toys in Virginia and The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, Ohio, and he has worked in the Direct Market since 1994. Gary was a member of the ComicsPRO Founding Board and provided the organization with a startup loan to help make the trade association a reality. He is also a member of the Free Comic Book Day advisory board and a frequent poster to the Comic Book Industry Alliance forum, sharing his insights into comics retailing to help other retailers improve their businesses. Gary serves as Chair on the ComicsPRO Outreach Committee, supervising ComicsPRO's presence at trade shows and conventions, Chair of the Nominating Committee, overseeing new board member elections, and Chair of the Staffing Committee, managing the development of ComicsPRO’s paid staff positions.

Amanda Fisher
As part of the Founding Board, Amanda Fisher did the legwork for the creation of ComicsPRO as a nonprofit organization. She is the Chair of the Membership Committee, handling new applications and member files. Amanda began her career in comics at the age of 16, working at The Splash Page in Billings, MT. She helped open a second Splash Page location in Missoula at age 18, and became the manager of that store in 1998. In 2001, Amanda bought the Missoula store with a partner and renamed it Muse Comics. Amanda opened a second Muse Comics location in downtown Missoula in 2006. She has written articles for “Comics & Games Retailer” and is a member of the Free Comic Book Day advisory board. She was recently hired as the ComicsPRO Communications Coordinator, the organization’s first paid staff position, handling its corporate, administrative and outreach work. She is deeply committed to the success of comic book retailers, and her focus within ComicsPRO is finding ways for members to improve their stores.

Derrick Taylor
Derrick Taylor is the owner of Comic Oasis is Las Vegas, Nevada. Derrick dreamed of owning a comic book store from age 5, and began working at Golden Apple Comics of Los Angeles at age 16. In 2005, Derrick sold his successful home theater company and bought Tim Boal's Comic Oasis. Derrick's priorities are introducing new people to comics. He appears at local book fairs and events. He sets up at movie premieres to spread the word of comics, and is also heavily involved with the Boys and Girls Club of America. Derrick has done outreach at Anime Vegas, and held seminars on how to own a hobby shop and present artwork. Derrick loves the comic book medium and its ability to tell a story no matter how small or large, and believes it is a true American art form like Jazz. His goal is for the world to see the potential of comics.

Votes will be tallied at the 2008 Membership Meeting in Vegas, and new directors will be welcomed to the Board of Directors at that time!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ComicsPRO States Position on Publisher Convention Sales

In advance of the coming convention season, ComicsPRO is releasing the latest of its ongoing communications to the comics’ industry at large, a "white paper" related to debut sales at conventions of merchandise retailers have yet to receive.

Carr D’Angelo, ComicsPRO board member and owner of Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks CA, commented "Publishers often ask ‘What do retailers want?’ This position paper clearly states our desire regarding publishers selling their books before they go on sale at comic book retail stores. We prefer to work with publishers as our partners in business. When publishers sell to our customers before we even have the product, it makes for an uneasy business relationship."

"Pre-release convention sales by some publishers have negatively affected their ability to penetrate Direct Market retail channels," added Benjamin Trujillo, ComicsPRO board member and owner of Star Clipper in St Louis MO. "By clearly explaining the reasoning behind retailers' decisions to not stock titles from publishers engaging in pre-release convention sales and making a case for an even playing field, we’ll be encouraging publishers to adopt sales strategies that will benefit themselves and the Direct Market overall."

As the industry’s only retailer trade association, ComicsPRO has three main goals:
1) For direct market retailers to speak with a single, strong voice on important industry issues
2) To provide educational and mentoring opportunities to current and future retailers in an effort to expand the comics specialty market
3) To offer opportunities for retailers to reduce common fixed costs.

More information and membership applications are available at

The following is the text of the position paper related to publisher convention sales:

Issue Presented
Direct Market retailers purchase their inventory under a non-returnable arrangement. With very few exceptions, Direct Market retailers are obligated to pay for the material they purchase from a wholesaler, regardless of their ability to ultimately sell that material. This non-returnable arrangement is one of the cornerstones of the current distribution system.

Some Direct Market-oriented publishers gain a significant portion of their sales from direct-to-consumer sales at conventions and other fan-driven gatherings. ComicsPRO acknowledges that publishers should have access to as many revenue streams as possible in order to become and remain profitable. ComicsPRO asserts that direct-to-consumer sales of material prior to their release to retailers adversely affects potential sales in Direct Market stores belonging to our membership. When customers have already purchased products directly from a publisher before the retail channel is even able to stock these items, the cash flow and bottom lines of Direct Market retailers are noticeably impacted.

Market Efficiency
In order for a market to function efficiently, all market participants should have equivalent access to the goods offered. If one or more participants has early access to market offerings, all other participants in that market are affected, whether through realization of full sales potential, or from less tangible concerns including reduced consumer confidence in a product line or a manufacturer.

Convention Sales
Conventions, even regional ones, will have national sales impacts. East Coast-based customers frequently travel to West Coast conventions (and vice-versa). It should not be assumed that sales impacts are limited to the region where the event is hosted.

Request for Action
ComicsPRO requests that publishers refrain from selling direct-to-consumers in any manner until the same product is received and available for sale by all members involved in Direct Market retailing.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 Annual Meeting Reminder

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for the 2008 ComicsPRO membership meeting registration is January 20, 2008. If you want all of the free meals that come with your registration fee, please get your form in by the deadline!

The ComicsPRO room block will be held at our hotel until February 1st, but the hotel expects to fill up quickly, so reserve your room right away!

For more details and the registration form, please visit